GROVE - City leaders in Perry were stunned to learn that the person they hired as city manager tendered his resignation just 40 hours later - jumping ship to Grove.

Perry Mayor Charles Hall confirmed that Bruce L. Johnson had tendered his resignation at noon on Wednesday.

Hall said the move was a surprise since Johnson had just signed an employment contract at the regular city council meeting at 7 p.m. June 18. It was a celebrated occasion as Johnson was the communities first city manager.

“Consultants told us to expect three to five years in an average stay by a city manager. Obviously, we were very surprised to only get 40 hours out of this one, Hall said.

Grove's councilmen, attorney, treasurer and interim city manager met in executive session Tuesday to discuss candidates for their own city manager search. They emerged about an hour later announcing only that no decision had been made on the employment of a city manager.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Grove city clerk announced an emergency meeting of the city council to be held that evening at 6:15 p.m.

Johnson attended the Grove council meeting and signed an employment contract.

Four of the five city councilmen voted to offer the contract to Johnson; Mike Davenport was out of town. However, Debbie Mavity, interim city manager, said she'd spoken with the councilman and he'd given his full support.

Hall said he'd had numerous conversations with Johnson, prior to his hiring, and felt assured that the candidate was sure of his decision.

The mayor of Perry said that, while he'd never encountered this situation, he harbors no ill will toward Johnson and wishes his family the best in Grove.

“I am a man of faith. These recent events are not without purpose. I have high hopes and expectations for Perry and our new form of government, Hall said.

Hall and Perry city attorney Bruce Kennedy both indicated the town would begin the hiring process again.